They Love The Smell of Burned Constitutions In the Morning

Would a tyranny of men by any other name still smell as sour? If Shakespeare was still around today he might ask that question of nearly every current American government after the Supreme Court bowed to the wishes of 50 states and overruled a Maryland Court’s decision(1) in the soon to be infamous “DNA” case.

At issue was whether the state of MD may legally use DNA evidence it obtained without a warrant. The Maryland Court of Appeals said “no”, this should have been the end of Alonzo King’s conviction being overturned for a 2003 rape case. King’s DNA was taken in 2009 for an unrelated matter. The DNA showed up as a match against a rape case that was closed in 2003. King claimed his 4th amendment rights were violated and thus the verdict unjust but what was really violated was the 26th Article of Maryland’s “Declaration of Rights”(2) from its Constitution of 1867. “That all warrants, without oath or affirmation, to search suspected places, or to seize any person or property, are grievous and oppressive; and all general warrants to search suspected places, or to apprehend suspected persons, without naming or describing the place, or the person in special, are illegal, and ought not to be granted.”

This may seem insignificant but represents our transformation from republicanism and local rule to a massive, tyrannical democracy. Why? Because the Constitution’s 4th Amendment limits searches the FEDERAL government can conduct, while Clause 26 limits those searches in Maryland(3).

This was the way the American governments operated all the way up until the 1950’s but no longer. ALL 49 other states joined Maryland in affirming the Feds supremacy on the issue and denying their own sovereignty. The same states whose “Tea Party” citizens whine incessantly about the size of the Federal edifice are thus far silent on this radical enlargement of the Federal State which is bad enough without the smell of 50 state constitution’s being burned at the same time.

(1) http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/cert/12-207

(2) http://msa.maryland.gov/msa/mdmanual/43const/html/00dec.html

(3) http://www.law.cornell.edu/constitution/fourth_amendment

The 4th Amendment reads “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”